Episode 199- A story of avoiding inconvenience with Alejandro Barañac

We have a saying in our sport, “never avoid inconvenience.” But it’s easier said than done. An easy field a kilometer away from the train station, or a really tricky field right next to it? Landing in strong wind across a river that means a long walk, or landing in strong wind near a road that will have rotor? In the 21′ Vercofly a number of pilots were injured. Some due to rowdy conditions, but several were just because of pilots making poor decisions. This is one of the latter stories from a first-time hike and fly competitor, Alejandro Barañac.

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Episode 181- A walk (and fly) down memory lane with Chrigel Maurer

With the 2023 Red Bull X-Alps quickly approaching I thought it would be fun to sit down with Chrigel “The Eagle” Maurer to take a walk back through his 7 winning campaigns. No one in our sport has been and continues to be more dominant than Chrigel. He won his first X-Alps in 2009 and hasn’t lost since (2023 will be his 8th campaign). He’s won everything (many at least 3 times)- Bornes to Fly, X-Pyr, Dolomiti Superfly, EigerTour, Dolomitiman, VercoFly (which he won flying tandem too!), and of course dominated for several years on the world cup, is a test pilot for Advance, heads up the X-Alps Academy and is without rival as the best mountain pilot on Earth.

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Episode 180- Tim Rochas takes on the XRedRocks

Tim Rochas is a long-time Niviuk Test pilot (he did his first testing for Niviuk at the age of 12!), wing and harness designer, French team member and veteran World Cup pilot. Tim has has recently gotten into hike and fly racing not only for his own pursuits but to become a Red Bull X-Alps supporter of Tanguy-Renoud Goud in the 23′ race this summer.

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Episode 167- Steve Bramfitt and Disco Dancing with risk

Steve Bramfitt was a rookie in the 2021 Red Bull X-Alps (GBR1) this year and had a phenomenal race, and like everyone this year- experienced plenty of harrowing and wonderful moments. In this episode we talk about his physical and mental preparation, dealing with the unknowns going into such a huge endeavor, how he assembled his team, some of the crazier (and hysterical) moments in the race, his scary accident in the UAE Hike and Fly championships and his rather nasty accident on the last full day of the X-Alps.

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Episode 163- Johanna Hamne and Flying in the Land of 1,000 Lakes

World Cup Competition pilot Johanna Hamne had a very big year. She had a daughter, and when she was 8 months pregnant she broke the Nordic FAI record. That’s not a mistype. She was 8 MONTHS pregnant when she flew the biggest triangle in the Nordic countries! You will love this story. But that’s just the start. Johanna is a regular on the World Cup circuit and brings an always-smiling face to our sport. We delve into how risk tolerance changes (or doesn’t) after you have a baby, competing after you’ve had a child, balancing flying with your partner (who also flies), how to process mistakes, flying flatlands and flying in a lot of wind, training and competing in Acro, jumping out of helicopters, getting currency, balancing life and flying, and a lot more.

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Episode 161- Peter Zaccagnino and Adventure, Aviation, and taking risk

Peter Zaccagnino is an aviation Hall of Fame pilot; 4 X Air Racing Gold Champion; has flown over 23,000 hours in more than 270 aircraft, flight tested more than 685 and even built three of his own. Peter’s company, High Performance Aircraft Group manages several corporate jets, provides his clients with custom-tailored, high-intensity world tours, and performs flight test services for several manufacturers, including the U.S. and foreign militaries. He’s also the film producer of multiple Discovery Channel productions and starred in a lead role in the “Dangerous Flights” series.

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Episode 152- Torsten Siegel and Playing the Ultimate Game

Veteran Gin test pilot, designer, European champion, and multiple-time German team member Torsten Siegel has been racing paragliders for nearly 30 years. He designed for UP Paragliders and then Swing before moving to Gin over a decade ago and has left an indelible mark on the sport since the early 90’s. I spoke with Torsten immediately after this years Superfinal in Disentis, Switzerland to get his thoughts on the first superfinal that’s been held in the mountains and to get his thoughts on all things racing- the risk, the tactics, the equipment and how to be consistent in the ultimate game- racing fabric and string in the sky.

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Episode 146- Maxime Pinot and turning up the Volume

In this episode we discuss how Maxime approaches training (physical and mental), his thoughts on just making better decisions instead of doing SIV for pilots who don’t have the money or time, how to manage your emotions, how to thermal and glide better, dealing with the “mental pain” that sometimes comes with flying, finding the opportunities from mistakes, the importance of visualization, and we look back at a couple key moves that made all the difference for Chrigel in the 2019 race.

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Episode 119- Yael Margelisch and building confidence

Yael Margelisch began flying ten years ago at the age of 19. She’s an Ozone and Swiss national team pilot, has been on the podium ten times on the world cup, is the first woman to fly over 500 km and owns the current female distance world record of 531 km as well as the current women’s FAI record (263 km) and is gunning hard for a 2021 Red Bull X-Alps campaign (she supported Michael Witschi in 2015).

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